General News

MoD: The Government will host 2 events this year to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War Two:
* To remember Victory in Europe (VE) Day, on Saturday 8 May, representatives of the Government, the major opposition parties, the Armed Forces & veterans’ organisations will lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in Whitehall during a short service.
* A further event will be held on 15 August to mark the 65th anniversary of Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.  Further details of this event will be announced in the summer
Press release ~ MoD: Veterans UK
DCMS: An exquisite bronze statue of a dancer by the acclaimed impressionist Edgar Degas last week became the latest item to be saved for the nation under the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Scheme, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), which celebrates its centenary this year. 
The AIL Scheme allows items of great historical or cultural importance to be given to the nation in place of inheritance tax. Last year, for example, the Scheme settled around £11m worth of tax, which led to items with a value of around £20m entering public collections throughout the UK.
Press release ~ Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Scheme
Defra: England last week officially welcomed the South Downs as our newest National Park. The 632sqm protected area, home to an estimated 108,000 people, will stretch from Beachy Head in East Sussex to the edge of Winchester in Hampshire.  The National Park Authority, which will be fully operational in 2011, will now pick up the role of co-ordinating work on conservation & recreation in the Park’s boundary.
Press release ~ Defra: South Downs National Park ~ South Downs Way - possible day or circular walks ~ South Downs Online ~ South Downs National Park Inquiry
Defra: Defra has given approval to Leeds University to conduct a research trial of GM potatoes this year.  The research is on potatoes that have been genetically modified to resist infection by potato cyst nematodes.  The application has been evaluated by the independent expert group the Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE).  It is satisfied that the proposed trial will not result in any adverse effect on human health or the environment. 
Reflecting ACRE’s advice, precautionary conditions have been attached to the statutory consent for the trial.  These conditions aim to ensure that GM potato material does not persist at the trial site.  The harvested GM potatoes will not be used for food or animal feed.
Press release ~ Part B consents granted to release genetically modified organisms ~ ACRE advice
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